10 Of The Most Hardcore Quotes In The History Of War

Quotes are often excellent for capturing a romanticized spirit of war. They offer glimpses of courage, usually without hinting at the pain or complications of combat. In reality, most of us would be too scared or distracted to say anything particularly memorable while our lives were in danger. Not like these people.

10William Darby


“Onward we stagger. And if the tanks come, then God help the tanks!”

That quote comes from the commander of the 1st Rangers Battalion and a soldier who so distinguished himself that the unit became known as “Darby’s Rangers.” The unit was among the first American ground forces to see action against the Nazis, beginning in Tunisia. During that time, Darby made very good on his boast. According to his citations for Distinguished Service, he personally oversaw the destruction of several German tanks with light artillery and grenades. He was also known for personally reconnoitering German positions. A rumor went around that at one point a courier visited Rangers headquarters. When he asked some soldiers where Darby was, one of the Rangers quipped “You’ll never find him this far back!”

Sadly, Darby did not get away with such bold actions forever. On April 30, 1945, he was killed in action when a tiny shell fragment hit him in the heart. It was only one week before Germany surrendered and on the same day that he was to be promoted to brigadier general. In 1958, Darby was immortalized on the silver screen by James Garner, who took over after Charlton Heston had to leave the production.

9Hannie Schaft


Prior to the 1940 German conquest of the Netherlands, Jannetje Johanna (Hannie) Schaft was a promising young law student. When Dutch students were required to sign a declaration of loyalty to the Nazis, she dropped out and joined a communist-affiliated resistance group. She helped to find shelter for Dutch Jews and eventually began carrying out assassinations, often targeting German officers and Dutch collaborators before escaping on her bicycle.

Hannie eventually became a high priority target known as “the Girl with Red Hair” (she quickly dyed it black). After her identity was discovered, the Nazis imprisoned her parents in a concentration camp. Although Hannie refused to turn herself in, she was ultimately arrested at a German checkpoint when a pistol was discovered in her bag. In 1945, she was taken out onto the beach near Bloemendaal for execution. When a German officer fired at her, the bullet only grazed her temple, allowing her to spite her murderer:

“I am a much better shot!”

A Dutch collaborator then finished the job with a submachine gun. The Netherlands were liberated three weeks later.


When Europeans arrived in the New World, Hatuey was a minor chief on Hispaniola, where the first Spanish settlements were located. When Diego Velazquez set out to conquer Cuba, Hatuey arrived ahead of him and attempted to warn the Taino inhabitants of the island of the coming threat. The effort failed, and Hatuey was forced to resist using guerrilla tactics. To give an idea of just what Hatuey was up against, when a community of thousands of Taino agreed to host the Spanish to a feast, the conquistadors rewarded them for their hospitality with mass murder.

Hatuey’s small force held the Spanish at bay for months, keeping them confined to forts. In 1512, he was betrayed and captured. Prior to being burned to death, he was pressured to convert by a Franciscan friar. Instead he remained defiant:

“I prefer Hell to Heaven if there are Spaniards in Heaven.”

7Theodore Roosevelt


Few people benefited more from the Spanish-American war than Theodore Roosevelt. As far as most basic histories are concerned, his Rough Riders more or less won the war with their famous charge up Kettle Hill. Recent historians have given more credit to the performance of the largely African-American 10th Cavalry and 24th Infantry regiments, which didn’t receive much attention at the time. But all versions describe Roosevelt showing courage that verged on mad recklessness.

During the attack, charging uphill against withering enemy fire, Roosevelt rode a horse, encouraging cowering soldiers with a cry of:

“Are you afraid to stand up when I am on horseback?”

Witnesses said they thought for sure he would be killed. A bullet did graze his arm, but Roosevelt shrugged the minor injury off and continued the charge.

6Liu Bang


In the late third century B.C., an especially vicious Chinese civil war was raged between the armies of Chu, commanded by Xiang Yu, and those of Han, under Liu Bang. Xiang and Liu had been allies in an earlier rebellion, but became enemies after Xiang Yu declared himself ruler of all China.

For years, Xiang Yu defeated Liu Bang again and again. During one of his early victories, he even captured Liu’s father. Eventually, after forming and losing several armies, Liu’s Han forces brought Xiang to a standstill. Xiang Yu then sent his enemy an unusual threat: If Liu did not surrender, Xiang would boil his father alive. This was no idle threat—Xiang had previously boiled an underling alive for calling him an ape in a hat. However, Liu sent back an unforgettable response:

“Send me a cup of the soup.”

Elsewhere in the letter, Liu reminded Xiang that they had declared themselves brothers during their time as allies—so for Xiang to boil Liu’s father would be patricide. The letter worked—Xiang spared Liu’s father. Liu Bang ultimately defeated the Chu and drove his rival to commit suicide beside a river.

5An Anonymous Finnish Officer


The 1939–1940 Winter War between Russia and Finland was arguably one of the most extraordinary wars ever fought. The Finns were so badly outnumbered that there was one Russian soldier for every four citizens of Finland, let alone Finnish soldiers. Their air force was outnumbered more than 30 to one. They had less than one percent of the tanks the Russians had. And yet the Finns managed to prevent the conquest of their country.

Perhaps fittingly for such a national effort, the soldier who best encapsulated the Finnish determination wasn’t even named. During a battle in the area of Suomussalmi, the Finnish tactics were proving unusually effective, ultimately inflicting as many as 28,000 casualties—while suffering just 700 of their own. One of Colonel Hjalmar Siilasvuo’s officers said it best:

“The wolves will eat well this winter.”

4David Farragut


During the US Civil War, Rear Admiral David Farragut was in command of the Union Fleet sent to seize the vital port of Mobile from the Confederacy. If Farragut was successful, it would be just the sort of inspiring victory the North needed (to give an idea of how bad the situation was, the value of the American dollar had dropped to 39 percent of its pre-war value the month before). The port was defended by the usual Southern ships and cannons—as well as a vast array of “torpedos,” which were actually what we would now refer to as mines. As the Union fleet approached, one of the lead ships, the ironclad Tecumseh, struck one of the mines and sank. The other ships naturally hesitated to proceed further. Determined to continue, Farragut gave his famous cry from aboard the flagship Hartford:

“Damn the torpedos! Full speed ahead!”

And thus the Hartford sailed directly into the vast array of mines, in what surely seemed like a suicide attack. Farragut was lucky, though. The Southern mines were old and, aside from the one that sunk the Tecumseh, duds. The Hartford struck numerous mines but emerged unscathed, motivating the rest of the fleet to continue and eventually capture the town.

3Marshal Michel Ney


While Napoleon Bonaparte deserves a great deal of credit for his military triumphs, he was also blessed with a number of truly great generals. Michel Ney was, if perhaps not the smartest, certainly the most courageous. Bonaparte’s nickname for him was “the Bravest of the Brave” for his willingness to put himself in harm’s way.

Ney retained his rank after Napoleon’s initial defeat and exile to Elba. When Napoleon escaped, the French monarchy sent Ney to arrest him. Instead, he rejoined his old commander and was at Napoleon’s side during the Emperor’s final defeat at Waterloo. The French monarchy, restored to power yet again, decided to make an example of Ney, and he was scheduled for execution on December 8, 1815. When the time came for the unpleasant business, Ney refused a blindfold, told his former brothers-in-arms to listen up, and said that he had always been loyal to France. He concluded:

“Soldiers, fire!”

2Alaric The Visigoth


Although the Western Roman Empire is usually said to have fallen in A.D. 476, when the last emperor was removed from power, the writing had been on the wall from at least A.D. 408. That was when Rome itself was threatened by the Visigoth warlord Alaric I, who demanded a huge ransom of gold, scarlet, silver, and pepper. In response, Rome sent two dignitaries, who warned Alaric that he faced the entire desperate population of the largest city in the Empire. Alaric’s response was one even pompous Roman politicians could appreciate:

“The thicker the hay, the easier it is mowed!”

The Romans promptly paid up in response. It didn’t help that much—Alaric eventually sacked the city in A.D. 410.

1Jerry “Mad Dog” Shriver


One of the most famous members of the United States Army Special Forces (also known as the Green Berets), Sergeant First Class Jerry Michael Shriver was the terror of the North Vietnamese Army from 1964 to 1969. A tall man who wore a derby hat and blue Chinese smoking jacket when not on duty, and whose main companion was an Alsatian named Klaus, Shriver almost seemed to have a death wish. Under conditions where most Green Berets only undertook around 20 missions, Shriver went on 40 of them during his time in Vietnam. He admitted to others that he knew it was excessive, but that he just couldn’t give up the thrill of combat. The nickname “Mad Dog” came from broadcasts by the enemy denouncing him and his unit, which was known as “Hatchet Platoon,” and offering $10,000 for his death or capture.

During one mission, Hatchet Platoon found itself encircled and outnumbered. Shriver described the situation to his air support and was told that it sounded “pretty bad.” Shriver’s response became legendary among the special forces:

“I’ve got ‘em right where I want ‘em—surrounded from the inside.”

Shriver survived that day, but his boldness eventually cost him dearly. On April 24, 1969, he boarded a helicopter in Quan Loi and went on what he claimed to know would be his final mission. His last known words, spoken before he boarded the helicopter, were to ask his comrades to take care of Klaus.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2014/07/26/10-of-the-most-hardcore-quotes-in-the-history-of-war/

10 Worst Moments in US History

This list is a response to the one published a couple of days ago with the topic of ’10 great moments’ in American history. A lot of people objected and asked for a list with ’10 worst moments’ in American history. So here it is, just to present both sides of American history, good & bad. It is in chronological order and if you have any suggestions to make, feel free to do so & constructive criticism is appreciated while argument for the sake of arguing will not lead us anywhere. Anyway, here it is:


The Trail of Tears was the relocation and movement of Native Americans, including many members of the Cherokee, Creek, Seminole, and Choctaw nations among others in the United States, from their homelands to Indian Territory (present day Oklahoma) in the Western United States. The phrase originated from a description of the removal of the Choctaw Nation in 1831. Many Native Americans suffered from exposure, disease, and starvation while en route to their destinations, and many died, including 4,000 of the 15,000 relocated Cherokee. By 1837, 46,000 Native Americans from these southeastern nations had been removed from their homelands thereby opening 25 million acres for settlement by European Americans


The Dred Scott Decision was a decision by the United States Supreme Court that ruled that people of African descent imported into the United States and held as slaves, or their descendants—whether or not they were slaves—were not protected by the Constitution and could never be citizens of the United States. It also held that the United States Congress had no authority to prohibit slavery in federal territories. The Court also ruled that because slaves were not citizens, they could not sue in court. Lastly, the Court ruled that slaves—as chattel or private property—could not be taken away from their owners without due process.


The battle of Antietam, fought on September 17, 1862, near Sharpsburg, Maryland, and Antietam Creek, as part of the Maryland Campaign, was the first major battle in the American Civil War to take place on Northern soil. It was the bloodiest single-day battle in American history, with about 23,000 casualties. The Union had 12,401 casualties with 2,108 dead. Confederate casualties were 10,318 with 1,546 dead. This represented 25% of the Federal force and 31% of the Confederate. More Americans died on September 17, 1862, than on any other day in the nation’s military history. Several generals died as a result of the battle, including Maj. Gens. Joseph K. Mansfield , Israel B. Richardson and Brig. Gen. Isaac P. Rodman on the Union side (all mortally wounded), and Brig. Gens. Lawrence O. Branch, William E. Starke on the Confederate side (killed).


A massive drop in value of the stock market helped trigger the Great Depression which lasted until the increased economic activity spurred by WW2 got us going back in the right direction. The Great Depression had devastating effects in virtually every country, rich and poor. Personal income, tax revenue, profits and prices dropped, and international trade plunged by a half to two-thirds. Unemployment in the United States rose to 25% and in some countries rose as high as 33%. Cities all around the world were hit hard, especially those dependent on heavy industry. Construction was virtually halted in many countries. Farming and rural areas suffered as crop prices fell by approximately 60 percent.


The US government came to the conclusion that interning Japanese-American citizens was the best of a number of bad options. Roughly a hundred thousand Japanese-Americans ended up in camps. U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs Executive Order 9066 on February 19, uprooting Japanese Americans on the west coast to be sent to Internment camps. The order led to the internment of Japanese Americans or AJAs (Americans of Japanese Ancestry) in which some 120,000 ethnic Japanese people were held in internment camps for the duration of the war. Of the Japanese interned, 62% were Nisei (American-born, second-generation Japanese American and therefore American citizens) or Sansei (third-generation Japanese American, also American citizens) and the rest were Issei (Japanese immigrants and resident aliens, first-generation Japanese American).


A decision was taken to drop atomic bombs on Japanese civilians killing roughly 200,000 people in total to ‘shorten’ the war. ( It completely ignored the fact that war is between armies, not civilians). On Monday, August 6, 1945, at 8:15 AM, the nuclear bomb ‘Little Boy’ was dropped on Hiroshima by an American B-29 bomber, the Enola Gay, directly killing an estimated 80,000 people. By the end of the year, injury and radiation brought total casualties to 90,000-140,000. Approximately 69% of the city’s buildings were completely destroyed, and about 7% severely damaged. On August 9, 1945, Nagasaki was the target of the world’s second atomic bomb attack (and second plutonium bomb; the first was tested in New Mexico, USA) at 11:02 a.m., when the north of the city was destroyed and an estimated 40,000 people were killed by the bomb nicknamed “Fat Man.” According to statistics found within Nagasaki Peace Park, the death toll from the atomic bombing totaled 73,884, as well as another 74,909 injured, and another several hundred thousand diseased and dying due to fallout and other illness caused by radiation.

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Kennedy’s decision to go forward with the invasion and then deny them air support doomed the entire enterprise to failure. Today, 44 years later, Fidel Castro, a diehard enemy of the United States, is still in power. The plan was launched in April 1961, less than three months after John F. Kennedy assumed the presidency in the United States. The Cuban armed forces, trained and equipped by Eastern Bloc nations, defeated the exile combatants in three days. Bad Cuban-American relations were made worse by the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. The invasion is often criticized as making Castro even more popular, adding nationalistic sentiments to the support for his economic policies. Following the initial attacks by 8 CIA-owned B-26s on Cuban airfields, he declared the revolution “Marxist-Leninist”. There are still yearly nationwide drills in Cuba during the ‘Dia de la Defensa’ (Defense Day) to prepare the population for an invasion.


The United States entered the war to prevent a communist takeover of South Vietnam as part of their wider strategy of containment. Military advisors arrived, beginning in 1950. U.S. involvement escalated in the early 1960s, with U.S. troop levels tripling in 1961 and tripling again in 1962. The war exacted a huge human cost in terms of fatalities, including 3 to 4 million Vietnamese from both sides, 1.5 to 2 million Laotians and Cambodians, and 58,159 U.S. soldiers. The Case-Church Amendment, passed by the U.S. Congress in response to the anti-war movement, prohibited direct U.S. military involvement after August 15, 1973. U.S. military and economic aid continued until 1975. The capture of Saigon by North Vietnamese army in April 1975 marked the end of Vietnam War. North and South Vietnam were reunified the following year.


Terrorist madmen attack the Twin Towers and Pentagon, kill nearly 3000 Americans, and set off a war on terrorism. (Some accounts suggest it was an inside job, or a horrific case of neglect). Afghanistan invaded to destroy the groups (Taliban & al Qaeda) America itself made, trained & armed to fight the Russian invasion. The campaign is still going on and has spilled into neighboring Pakistan, India & Iran, highlighting the inability of American forces to contain the war. The initial attack removed the Taliban from power, but Taliban forces have since regained some strength. T he war has been less successful in achieving the goal of restricting al-Qaeda’s movement than anticipated. Since 2006, Afghanistan has seen threats to its stability from increased Taliban-led insurgent activity, record-high levels of illegal drug production, and a fragile government with limited control outside of Kabul


The ‘Invasion of Iraq’ on the basis of alleged reports saying Iraq possesses WMD’s. Nothing found but hundreds of thousands of lives shattered. Bush later admitted that “[my] biggest regret of the presidency has to have been the intelligence failure in Iraq. In 2005, the Central Intelligence Agency released a report saying that no weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq. The invasion of Iraq was strongly opposed by some traditional U.S. allies, including France, Germany, New Zealand, and Canada. Their leaders argued that there was no evidence of WMD and that invading Iraq was not justified in the context of UNMOVIC’s February 12, 2003 report. On February 15, 2003, a month before the invasion, there were many worldwide protests against the Iraq war, including a rally of three million people in Rome, which is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the largest ever anti-war rally. According to the French academic Dominique Reynié, between January 3 and April 12, 2003, 36 million people across the globe took part in almost 3,000 protests against the Iraq war, but the decision remained & Iraq was invaded.


McCarthyism is the politically motivated practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence. Originally coined to criticize the anti-communist pursuits of U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy, “McCarthyism” soon took on a broader meaning, describing the excesses of similar efforts. During the post–World War II era of McCarthyism, many thousands of Americans were accused of being Communists or communist sympathizers and became the subject of aggressive investigations and questioning before government or private-industry panels, committees and agencies. Many people suffered loss of employment, destruction of their careers, and even imprisonment. Historian Ellen Schrecker wrote that “in this country, McCarthyism did more damage to the constitution than the American Communist Party ever did.”

Read more: http://listverse.com/2009/11/29/10-worst-moments-in-us-history/

10 Times The Military Mistakenly Dropped Nuclear Bombs

“Broken arrows” are nuclear accidents that don’t create a risk of nuclear war. Examples include accidental nuclear detonations or non-nuclear detonations of nuclear weapons. So far, the US Department of Defense recognizes 32 such incidents. They’re sobering examples of how one tiny mistake could potentially cause massive unintentional damage.

10British Columbia

The first recorded American military nuclear weapon loss took place in British Columbia on February 14, 1950. A Convair B-36 was on its way from Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks, Alaska to the Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth, Texas. The bomber was scheduled to take part in a mission that simulated a nuclear attack on San Francisco. The role of the bomber was to see if these kinds of planes could perform bomb runs in extremely cold weather. That way, the military could see how the bomber would perform if it ever got attacked by the Soviets and had to respond.

Because it was meant to go on a mock bomb run, the plane was carrying a Mark IV atomic bomb. However, the military wasn’t actually planning to nuke anybody, so the bomb didn’t contain the plutonium core necessary for a nuclear detonation. Even so, it still had about 2,250 kilograms (5,000 lb) of regular explosives, so the Mark IV could still create a huge explosion.

In one way, the mission was a success. The military wanted to find out whether or not the B-36 could attack the Soviets during the Arctic winter, and they learned the answer—it couldn’t. Due to the harsh weather conditions, three of the six engines failed. The crew was forced to bail out, but they first jettisoned the Mark IV and detonated it over the Inside Passage in Canada. Five of the 17 men aboard the B-36 died.

9Mars Bluff, South Carolina

Mars Bluff isn’t a sprawling metropolis with millions of people and giant skyscrapers. It’s a tiny, unincorporated community located in Florence County, South Carolina. However, it does have one claim to fame—on March 11, 1958, Mars Bluff was accidentally bombed by the United States Air Force with a Mark 6 nuke.

A Boeing B-47E-LM Stratojet departed from Hunter Air Force Base in Savannah, Georgia and was headed to England. It was part of Operation Snow Flurry, in which bombers flew to England to perform mock drops to test their accuracy. The Boeing in question had a Mark VI nuclear bomb onboard. As with the British Columbia incident, the bomb was inactive but still had thousands of pounds of explosives.

This one is entirely the captain’s fault. While he was performing checks on the bomb, he accidentally grabbed the emergency release pin. This released the bomb from its harness, and it fell right through the bomber doors to the ground 4,500 meters (15,000 ft) below.

The bomb landed on the house of Walter Gregg. Fortunately, nobody was killed in the ensuing explosion, although Gregg and five other family members were injured. Gregg sued the Air Force and was awarded $54,000 in damages, which is almost $500,000 in today’s money.

8Minot, North Dakota

Don’t think that fumbles with nuclear weapons are a thing of the past; the most recent such incident happened in 2007 at the Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota.

The mission was supposed to be pretty simple—deliver a load of unarmed AGM-129 ACM cruise missiles to a weapons graveyard. A dozen of them were loaded onto a B-52, six on each side. The officer in charge came and gave a quick inspection with a passing glance at the missiles on the right side before signing off on the mission. If he bothered to look on the left side, he would have noticed something quite interesting—the six missiles were all still armed with nuclear warheads, each with the power of 10 Hiroshima bombs.

This fun fact went unnoticed for the next 36 hours. During that time, the missiles flew across the country to Louisiana without any kind of safety protocols in place or any other procedure normally required when transporting nuclear weapons.

In the end, things turned out fine, which is why this incident was never classified as a broken arrow. Rather, it’s a “bent spear,” an event involving nuclear weapons of significant concern without involving detonation. Even so, when word got out, the public was quite distressed to find out exactly how easily six incredibly dangerous nuclear weapons can get misplaced through simple error.

7Tybee Island, Georgia

The year 1958 wasn’t a brilliant year for the US military. This is the second of three broken arrow incidents that year, this time taking place in the waters off Tybee Island near Savannah, Georgia.

A 3,500-kilogram (7,600 lb) Mark 15 nuclear bomb was aboard a B-47 bomber engaged in standard practice exercises. What was not so standard was an accidental collision with an F-86 fighter plane, significantly damaging the B-47’s wing. The bomber was barely airborne, so the crew jettisoned the bomb in preparation for an emergency landing.

The bomb was jettisoned over the waters of the Savannah River. To the crew’s surprise, they never heard an explosion. The pilot guided the bomber safely to the nearest air force base and even received a Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions. However, there was still one question left unanswered—where was the giant nuclear bomb?

That’s a question still unanswered today. The bomb was never found. Even now, over 55 years after the accident, people are still looking for it. Experts agree that the bomb ended up somewhere at the bottom of the Wassaw Sound, where it should still be today, buried under several feet of silt.

6Mediterranean Sea

The military does have a tendency to lose a nuclear weapon every now and then without ever recovering it. However, in these cases, they at least have some idea of where the bombs ended up. That is not the case with this broken arrow. It is, without a doubt, the most mysterious incident of its kind.

On March 10, 1956, a B-47 Stratojet took off from MacDill Air Force Base in Florida carrying capsules with nuclear weapon cores. It was headed to a then-undisclosed foreign military base, later revealed to be Ben Guerir Air Base in Morocco. During the flight, the bomber was supposed to undergo two aerial refueling sessions. The first one went off without a hitch. When the second tanker arrived to meet up with the B-47, the bomber was nowhere to be found.

And it was never found again. It had disappeared without a trace over the Mediterranean Sea.

The Royal Navy organized extensive searches assisted by French and Moroccan troops stationed in the area. The best they could come up with is a report that the plane went down somewhere near a coastal village in Algeria called Port Say. The plane and its cargo was eventually classified “lost at sea,” and the three crew members were declared dead.

5San Antonio, Texas

This is a unique case, even for a broken arrow, and it goes to show that even obsolete nuclear weapons need to be handled with care as they are still dangerous.

The incident took place at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. Specifically, it occurred at the Medina Base, an annex formerly used as a National Stockpile Site (NSS). Back in the ’60s, it was also used to decommission and disassemble old nuclear weapons.

On November 13, 1963, the annex experienced a massive chemical explosion when 56,000 kilograms (123,000 lb) of non-nuclear explosives detonated. Shockingly, there were no casualties, and only three workers received minor injuries. The nuclear components were stored in a different part of the building, so radioactive contamination was minimal.

The incident became public immediately but didn’t cause a big stir because it was overshadowed when, just a few days later, President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas.

4Fairfield, California


This is one of the most serious broken arrows in terms of loss of life. By the end, 19 people were dead, and almost 180 were injured. Among the victims was Brigadier General Robert F. Travis.

The incident took place at the Fairfield-Suisun Air Force Base in California. The Korean War was raging, and the military was transporting a load of Mark IV nuclear bombs to Guam. Ten B-29 bombers were loaded with one nuclear weapon each.

Shortly after takeoff, one of the planes developed engine trouble. General Travis, aboard that plane, ordered it back to the base, but another error prevented the landing gear from deploying. The pilot had to crash-land the B-29 in a remote area of the base. Of the 20 people aboard the plane, 12 died on impact, including Travis. Ground personnel tried to put out the fire before the bomb would explode, but the Mark IV detonated, and the 2,300 kilograms (5,000 lb) of conventional explosives caused a massive blast that killed seven more people.

The military tried to cover up the incident by claiming that the plane was loaded with only conventional explosives. The accident report made no mention of nuclear weapons aboard the bomber. The base was soon renamed “Travis Air Force Base” in honor of the general.

3Palomares, Spain

The incident that happened in Palomares, Spain on January 17, 1966 was a bad one, even for a broken arrow. For starters, it involved the destruction of two different aircraft and the deaths of seven of the people aboard them. Moreover, it involved four hydrogen bombs, two of which exploded. Lastly, it all took place in a foreign land, hurting the United States politically.

A B-52G bomber was flying over the Mediterranean Sea when it was approached by a tanker for a standard mid-air refueling. The two planes collided, and both were completely destroyed. The bomber had been carrying four MK28 hydrogen bombs. One landed in a riverbed and was fine—it didn’t leak; it didn’t explode. Another fell in the sea and was recovered a few months later. Two bombs landed near the Spanish village of Palomares and exploded on impact. They contaminated a 2.5-square-kilometer (1 mi2) area, although nobody was killed in the blasts.

A few months later, the US government was sued by Spanish fisherman Francisco Simo Ortis, who had helped find the bomb that fell in the sea. According to maritime law, he was entitled to the salvage reward, which was 1 percent of the haul’s total value. Luckily for him, the value of that salvage happened to be $2 billion, so he asked for $20 million. He settled out of court for an undisclosed sum.


This Greenland incident, commonly referred to as the Thule accident, took place just two years after Palomares and has a lot of similarities with the previous broken arrow. It involved four different hydrogen bombs, and it took place in a foreign land, causing diplomatic problems for the United States.

On January 21, 1968, a B-52 bomber carrying four hydrogen bombs was flying over Baffin Bay in Greenland when the cabin caught fire. Originally, the plan was to make an emergency landing at Thule Air Base, but the fire was too severe, and the plane didn’t make it there. Six of the seven crew members made it out alive, while the bomber crashed into the sea ice.

One of the bombs detonated, spreading radioactive contamination over a 300-meter (1,000 ft) area. All of the contaminated snow and ice—roughly 7,000 cubic meters (250,000 ft3)—was removed and disposed of by the United States. Another bomb simply burned without exploding, and two others fell into the icy waters. One of those was eventually recovered about 10 years later, but the other one is still somewhere at the bottom of Baffin Bay.

Oddly enough, the Danish government got into more trouble than the American one. Greenland is a territory administered by Denmark, and the country had implemented a nuclear-free policy in 1957. In what would eventually get dubbed “Thulegate,” it came out that the Danish government was secretly allowing the stockpiling of nuclear weapons on its soil during peacetime.

1Albuquerque, New Mexico

We’ve finally arrived at the most famous broken arrow in US history, one mostly made famous by the government covering it up for almost 30 years.

On May 22, 1957, a B-36 bomber was transporting a giant Mark 17 hydrogen bomb from Texas to the Kirtland Air Force Base near Albuquerque, New Mexico. This was one of the biggest nuclear bombs ever made, 8 meters (25 ft) in length and with an explosive yield of 10 megatons.

Everything was going fine until the plane was about 6 kilometers (4 mi) from the base. Then, for reasons that remain unknown, the bomb’s safety harness failed. The giant hydrogen bomb fell through the bay doors of the bomber and plummeted 500 meters (1,700 ft) to the ground.

Two pieces of good news came after this. First, the plutonium pits hadn’t been installed in the bomb during transportation, so there was no chance of a nuclear explosion. Second, the bomb landed in a mostly empty field. It produced a giant explosion, left a 3.5-meter (12 ft) deep crater, and spread radioactive contaminants over a 1.5-kilometer (1 mi) area. But the damage was minimal, and there was only one casualty—an unfortunate cow that was grazing in the vicinity of the explosion.

For 29 years, the government kept the accident at Kirtland a secret. This practically ensured that, when it was eventually revealed, everyone treated it like a huge deal, even though much worse broken arrows had happened since.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2014/11/03/10-times-the-military-accidentally-dropped-nuclear-bombs/

10 Hilariously Childish Weapons We Used Against The Nazis

The Second World War was a period of darkness unmatched in human history, a titanic struggle against the forces of pure evil. Which is why it’s always a little surprising to realize that many of the Allies seemed to view the war less like a battle for the world’s future and more like they were Dennis the Menace and the Nazis were an army of Mr. Wilsons. Hence the use of such devastating weapons as…

10 Irremovable Graffiti

Nazi Symbole
Graffiti was a popular low-risk way for the resistance to show their opposition to the Nazis, as well as undermine German propaganda. Recognizing this, Allied intelligence had started airdropping insulting stencils and paint behind enemy lines. Unfortunately, there was a problem: Those crafty Germans were simply removing the graffiti wherever they found it. So the British channeled huge resources into developing a form of obscene daubing that would be impossible to remove. They hit the jackpot with an ammonium-based paint that would etch into glass and be impossible to remove. This surefire war-winner was disguised as tubes of toothpaste and smuggled into occupied Europe, where it was particularly popular for writing insults on the windshields of German officer’s cars. However, there was one minor hitch when a shipment was accidentally sent to North Africa, where puzzled agents mistook it for real toothpaste with a “devastating effect on both teeth and morale.”

9 Itching Powder


As part of their remit to demoralize the enemy, the British Special Operations Executive (SOE) decided to take a cue from school pranksters and started mass-producing itching powder. The powder, which had a powerful irritant effect on exposed skin, was smuggled into occupied Europe disguised as talcum powder. There it was distributed to resistance members at laundries and clothing factories, where it could be secretly sprinkled over German uniforms. This wasn’t a small-scale operation: In October 1943, the SOE reported that 25,000 U-boat crew uniforms had been contaminated with itching powder. Apparently this was successful in getting at least one U-boat to return to port, as the crew had become convinced they were suffering from severe dermatitis.

Meanwhile, other SOE agents decided to get even more creative. The agency’s Stockholm office began gathering German envelopes from Swedes with relatives in occupied countries, filling them with itching powder, and sending them back into the German postal system. However the scheme reached its horrifying apex in Norway, where local resistance members started putting the powder into condoms intended for German troops. The contaminated condoms were shipped mainly to the Trondheim area, where the local hospital soon filled up with soldiers complaining of “painful irritation.”

8 Stink Bombs


The British also spent large sums developing a stink bomb called “the S-capsule” which could be broken into the pocket of a German coat to create a horrible stench. The smell clung even after multiple cleanings, and since winter clothing was in short supply in the German army, the poor soldier would either have to freeze or walk around reeking like a trawler fire.

Not about to be out-crazied by a bunch of limeys, the American Office of Strategic Services (OSS) launched the hilariously-named “Who Me?” program. This eventually produced a spray bottle that could be used on a German officer to produce a strong fecal smell that would “humiliate” him in the eyes of his men. Unfortunately “Who Me?” turned out to be so strong that it tended to cling to everyone in the area, including the poor guy trying to surreptitiously spray it. As such, the resistance members it was smuggled to generally refused to use it.

7 Fake Party Invitations


In 1944, SOE agents in Sweden were looking for ways to undermine Nazi support in the country when they suddenly saw their chance. The German embassy in Stockholm had arranged for the famous German actor and comedian Georg Alexander to give a gala, one-night-only performance of his new comic play, with tickets available only to an exclusive few. As it turned out, the play would be a hilarious farce—just not in the way the embassy had been hoping.

The SOE produced over 3,000 fake invitations to the play, and the swanky reception to be held afterward. The forgeries, which instructed the recipient to wear their very best evening dress, were then sent to known Nazi sympathizers around the country.

On the night of the gala, everything went as the SOE had planned. Thousands of Nazi-loving Swedes, flattered that their support was being recognized by the embassy, turned up in black tie only to be told that the tickets they were proudly clutching were fake, and that they would not be allowed in. The performance was delayed for hours by the angry mob outside, many of whom had traveled for hours, and now felt terribly snubbed. The foolish fascists became a laughingstock across Sweden.

6 Laxatives


The Atlantic coast of Norway was a desolate area with an economy based largely on pickled fish and, presumably, breath mints. So when Norway’s Nazi-controlled government announced that it was requisitioning the entire sardine catch people were understandably outraged. Luckily the resistance had a mole into the local Nazi headquarters who revealed that the sardines were going to be used to feed German troops—with the best of the catch reserved to provide tinned supplies to U-boat crews. And that’s when the resistance hit upon a plan so brilliant everyone in the country had to wear sunglasses for the rest of the war.

First they sent an urgent message to their contacts in British Intelligence requesting a strong laxative that could easily be added to vegetable oil without detection. The British, who had apparently decided not to ask too many questions after the whole itching-powder-in-the-condoms incident, shrugged and sent back all the croton oil they could get their hands on. Croton oil, in case you hadn’t guessed, is an extremely powerful purgative. The Norwegians snuck it into the canning factories, where it was added to the vegetable oil sardines are packed in. The sardines were then sent off to U-boat bases across the continent. Now painful diarrhea is bad at the best of times, but imagine it while packed onto a tiny submarine with a bunch of guys all suffering the same problem. Yeah.

British Intelligence was impressed enough by this success to start their own laxative-based campaign, using a substance called Carbachol. Official documents claimed that one gram of this could cause “diarrhea of epic proportions among 200 people.” A paper “hilariously” entitled Evacuation Against Evacuation was drawn up outlining a dual strategy. First, bottles of Carbachol were dropped over enemy units with notes pointing out that getting shot really sucked, and encouraging German soldiers to use the solution to fake dysentery and get a nice stay in hospital instead. Secondly, secret agents were to add the substance to German supplies. Sadly the war ended before this could be put into action.

5 Spreading Rumors


Early in the war, the British recruited the Daily Express journalist Sefton Delmer to run black propaganda operations against Germany. Delmer was the perfect man for the job, he spoke fluent German and during his time as Berlin correspondent for the Express he had come to know many senior Nazis, including Hitler. And he was also a tabloid journalist, which meant he had plenty of experience with making up scandalous stories. The station he set up was called Gustav Siegfried Eins, and right away it set out to produce the filthiest, most foul-mouthed, borderline obscene, broadcasts in Germany. His goal was to replicate the success of tabloids, which “by denouncing vice, secure a large circulation among those who wish to read about it.”

Gustav Siegfried Eins was supposedly the underground radio station of a group of right-wing German officers disgusted with the corruption and depravity of leading Nazis. Naturally that involved discussing said depravity in some detail. After one especially filthy broadcast involving “a German admiral, his mistress, five drunken sailors, and a lump of butter,” a shocked British politician wrote to the government to complain “If this is the sort of thing that is needed to win the war, why, I’d rather lose it.”

Eventually Delmer decided that the station had outlived its usefulness and decided to give it the best send-off he could come up with. A final recording was prepared in which the announcer was surprised mid-broadcast by the Gestapo, and shot dead after a short gun battle. The last words shocked listeners heard were a Nazi officer snarling, “got you at last, you swine!” Unfortunately the radio operator in charge of the station messed up and played the same recording an hour later, meaning that the announcer was apparently shot to death twice in a row.

4 Implying Hitler Had A Tiny Penis


Not that Delmer was content to keep things on the radio. To reinforce his stories of sexual misconduct among senior Nazis, he began doctoring photographs of Hitler to make it look as though he was exposing himself or masturbating in public. Artists like Marion Whitehorn spent hours painstakingly drawing genitals onto pictures of the Fuhrer. For added effect, the penis shown was always circumcised to add credence to the rumors Hitler was secretly of Jewish descent. When the SS began circulating pamphlets denouncing the images as forgeries, Delmer saw his chance to take things to the next level. He produced a mock SS pamphlet containing a photo of a grinning Hitler with a truly massive penis. Below the picture was a caption condemning it as fake, since “everyone knows the Fuhrer does not possess anything of the kind.”

3 Putting Hitler’s Face On Toilet Paper

Even more so than the SOE, the OSS had a reputation for being willing to consider any scheme, however crazy, which might undermine the enemy war effort. So, late in the war, when the OSS office in Rome realized that the enemy was experiencing a severe wiping-material shortage, they jumped all over it. The department began producing anti-Nazi toilet paper, which would then be dropped into Germany or placed in the bathroom of trains traveling from neutral Switzerland. Some of the rolls were printed with anti-Nazi text and some truly terrible toilet humor (a sample: “Comrades! Enough with all this…” well, you get the idea). Others just had a picture of Hitler’s face and the words (“This side up!“)

2 Bombarding Hitler With Pornography


Continuing with the “let’s annoy Hitler into surrendering” strategy of the last few entries, the OSS came up with a plan that was deranged even by their low, low standards. They knew taking Hitler out would strike a devastating blow to the Nazis. But killing him would be almost impossible and ran the risk of turning him into a martyr. So instead they just decided to drive him crazy. With porn.

See, the agency’s crack team of psychologists had concluded that Hitler was pathologically prudish about sex. They argued that if Hitler was suddenly exposed to a huge quantity of hardcore pornography he would be driven to a nervous breakdown. So the OSS R&D division (known as “the Choirboys”) sprang into action, assembling a “mountain” of German pornography.

At this point, it’s probably worth remembering that there was an actual war raging across the globe, while these guys sat around flicking through Bavarian erotica and arguing about which edition of “Busty Berlin Babes” was more likely to destroy the menace of fascism once and for all.

Shockingly, the plan fell apart almost as soon as the OSS tried to put it into action. They had decided that the best way to get the porn to Hitler was to have a bomber drop it on his bunker. When the air raid alert ended, the Fuhrer would wander outside, see the lingerie catalogs littering the landscape, and instantly be driven to Lovecraftian madness. An unsuspecting Air Force colonel was called to OSS headquarters, where the plan was enthusiastically explained to him. He wasn’t a fan.

In fact, the colonel apparently left shouting that the entire agency was a bunch of maniacs and that the Air Force wouldn’t risk the life of a single pilot on the scheme. Let’s all take a moment to remember that brave officer, apparently the only sane man in the entire military brass.

1 Parody Newspapers


When the Nazis invaded Belgium they had taken over the country’s largest newspaper, Le Soir, and converted it to a mouthpiece for propaganda. But on November 9, 1943, readers who stopped to pick up a copy at one of Brussel’s many newsstands were in for a surprise. At first glance the paper appeared totally normal. However on closer inspection every story was revealed to be subtly, or not-so-subtly, mocking the German occupiers.

For example, the movie section advertised such upcoming films as Olympiad Part 1: The Marathon From El Alamein To Sidi Barani, featuring Field Marshall Rommel in his greatest role; The Unsinkable, starring the British navy; and Where Is The Editor, a detective film starring Himmler and the Gestapo. There were pieces perfectly mimicking the style of the paper’s usual propagandists, but gradually devolving into surreal nonsense or digs at the increasingly precarious Nazi military situation. The obituary section was just filled with the names of prominent collaborators.

The parody, quickly dubbed Le Faux Sour, was actually the work of the Belgian Resistance. Hoping to inspire more Belgians to join the movement, they had come up with a brilliant non-violent protest. Recruiting cartoonists, writers, and printers, they managed to produce a perfect replica of Le Soir. The fake paper was then delivered to newspaper kiosks around Brussels. They had originally hoped to stop the actual newspaper from being published at all that day, but their agents were unable to torch the newspaper vans and a planned British air raid on the printers actually showed up a day late. Nonetheless, by working at breakneck speed, the resistance were able to get their paper into the kiosks first. By the time the real paper arrived, word of the parody had already spread. It eventually sold 50,000 copies, generating valuable support for the resistance and turning the Nazis into a laughing stock.

Sadly, there was a tragic epilogue to the story. Two of the planners, Ferdinand Wellens and Theo Mullier, were captured by the Gestapo, tortured, and executed. They are remembered as heroes of the resistance and the men who made Belgium laugh in its darkest hour.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2013/11/05/10-hilariously-childish-weapons-we-used-against-the-nazis/

10 Sibling Soldiers Who Fought On Opposite Sides

War is always devastating. Particularly unfortunate, however, is when it destroys families. Sometimes, for reasons of ideology, politics, honor, emotion, or simple geography, siblings can find themselves on opposing sides of a war, or even facing each other over the same battlefield.

10Simonds And Richard D’Ewes
English Civil War

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Richard D’Ewes was set along a different path than his elder brother when he lost the steadying influence of his mother at the age of three. By the time of their father’s death in 1631, the two brothers had remarkably different characters—Simonds had become a staid lawyer while Richard was lighthearted and adventurous. Surprisingly, it was the conservative Simonds who found himself supporting the Parliamentarians, despite being given baronetcy by the king.

This was mainly on account of Simonds’s severe Presbyterianism and perception that “atheism, profaneness and ignorance now reigns.” The Stuart dynasty was widely mistrusted for its supposed Catholic sympathies (Charles’s son, James II, got kicked off the throne in 1688 for his Catholicism). Richard died early in the war in 1643 as a Royalist lieutenant-colonel, while Simonds became increasingly disillusioned, particularly after witnessing the execution of two women who were protesting for peace. Ultimately, he was expelled from parliament in 1648 and died shortly thereafter, though he remains somewhat notable as an antiquarian and diarist.

9Harry, Ken, Saburo, And Shiro Akune
World War II

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The Akune brothers were all born or raised in the United States—where their father operated a grocery business—but they returned to their ancestral Japanese home after the death of their mother. Harry and Ken, having returned to America to seek employment, found themselves interned after Pearl Harbor before jumping at the chance to serve in Military Intelligence. Back in Japan, their two younger brothers were eventually conscripted, with Saburo acting as a spotter for kamikazes and 15-year-old Shiro interviewing recruits at a naval base.

Ken worked on propaganda out of Burma while Harry saw active service in New Guinea and the Philippines before they were both stationed in Japan after the war. Unfortunately, they experienced mistrust from both sides—they were discriminated against by some Americans for their ethnicity (which allegedly went to such lengths as Harry having his weapon confiscated prior to a parachute drop), while in Japan they were seen as traitors. This ill feeling extended even into their own family. It finally took an intervention from their father to prevent a fistfight between the Japanese and American branches of the family. With time, however, this hostility faded and all four returned to the United States. Shiro later served in Korea.

8George And Thomas Crittenden
American Civil War

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The American Civil War is often characterized with the phrase “brother against brother,” and nowhere was this truer than in the border state of Kentucky. The Crittenden family is a striking example. Family patriarch John was a longtime senator whose attempts at a last-minute compromise were shot down. Despite this, he remained loyal to the Union and played a part in keeping Kentucky from seceding.

However, his eldest son George, a veteran of the Black Hawk and Mexican-American Wars, joined the Confederacy and was made a major-general. After his defeat at Mill Springs in January 1862, he experienced an eclectic few months—he was transferred to the Army of Central Kentucky, arrested for drunkenness in March, and restored in April before ultimately resigning when faced with a court of inquiry. His younger brother Thomas Leonidas remained loyal to his father and the Union but, just like his brother, he got in trouble with his superiors. Unlike his brother’s drinking, however, Thomas wasn’t to blame—he was scapegoated by the inept General Rosencrans for the defeat at Chickamauga. He was eventually exonerated. In addition to this, a third brother, Eugene, and two cousins (both of whom were also named Thomas), also served the Union, and Thomas Leonidas lost a son at Little Bighorn.

7The Battle Of Wyoming
American Revolution

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While not thought of as such, the American Revolution had many characteristics of a civil war. This is seen by the number of loyalists, which may have been over a fifth of the population. Tens of thousands of these loyalists emigrated to Canada at the end of the war rather than live in the newly minted United States. As such, there were many divided loyalties, and this is exemplified by the Battle of Wyoming (which took place in Pennsylvania).

“Partial Terry” is the most heinous example of this—he abandoned his family to join the British at the start of the war. When he did return, it was as an enemy raider to brutally murder and scalp his father, mother, brothers, and sisters. In the battle itself, meanwhile, American militiaman Henry Pensell lost his weapon and threw himself at the mercy of his loyalist brother John, who calmly loaded his weapon and shot his brother at point-blank range. It’s very possible that many of these stories of brutality that came out of the Revolutionary War were exaggerated, but they still serve to illustrate the cold atmosphere of a conflict that turned families into bitter enemies.

6Ralph And Edmund Verney
English Civil War

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The Verneys were an old family of Buckinghamshire squires who, in the years prior to the civil war, were led by Sir Francis (who, incidentally, later became a Muslim pirate. Upon Sir Francis’s death, his brother (Sir Edmund Sr.) became the leader of the family. Edmund was, for a time, a close friend of King Charles, but as an MP, he was increasingly opposed to the king’s politics. Nevertheless, when war broke out he felt obligated to support the crown and was killed serving as the king’s standard-bearer at Edgehill. Supposedly, his severed hand was found clutching the royal standard after the battle.

His death left two sons: Sir Ralph (an MP like his father but a moderate parliamentarian) and the staunchly royalist Edmund Jr. In an exchange of letters, Edmund condemned his brother for causing “a great grief to father.” This, and the increasing radicalization of the parliamentary cause, led Ralph to abandon the parliamentarians in 1643 and flee to the continent. Meanwhile, his brother was a royalist leader at Drogheda in 1649 where, after surrendering, he was murdered by a trooper in the presence of Cromwell.

5Juna And Bhuwal Rai
Nepalese Civil War

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The Nepalese Civil War saw Maoist revolutionaries attempt to overthrow the country’s monarchy. It was a rousing Maoist speech promising equality and freedom from discrimination that drew Juna Rai into the rebel cause in 2003. At the time, she was only in the eighth grade, and she left without telling her father. The following year, she was almost killed by a grenade that left her with a deep leg injury.

In 2006, photographer Sagar Shrestha snapped a picture of Juna huddled over in the cold tightly clutching her rifle, a photo which became emblematic of the country’s war-weariness and fatigue. It was only in 2009 that it was discovered that Juna’s brother Bhuwan was in the Royal Nepal Army and that both had participated in the battles of Bhojpur and Diktel. After being interned in the Udaypur Cantonment in 2009, Juna reconnected with her brother, overcoming the indoctrination that she had experienced. As of 2013, Juna and 1,422 other internees were inducted into the royal army, and she is now proud to serve in the same institution as her brother.

4The Oka Brothers
World War II

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The Oka family migrated to the United States in the 1920s and ran a hotel in California before returning to Japan due to adverse economic conditions. In 1937, however, the three eldest children—Isao, Masao, and Chikara (“Don”)—returned to the States and were drafted after Pearl Harbor. Due to their Japanese language skills, they were placed in Military Intelligence, with Isao transferred out of the distinguished 442nd Japanese-American regiment to eventually serve as “the voice of American propaganda” from the Philippines, which included reading the Potsdam Declaration (the terms of Japan’s surrender). With Masao limited to garrison duty, Don was the only one of the three to see active duty. He fought on the island of Tinian, where he unsuccessfully pleaded with starving Japanese soldiers to surrender.

Don’s service on Tinian also included being dive-bombed by his brother Takeo, a pilot for the Imperial Japanese Navy. Tragically, Takeo, an elementary teacher before the war, was shot down and killed on his flight back. Teiji, meanwhile, was conscripted by the Japanese Army in the desperate days of 1945, only to be wounded when his troop ship was sunk en route to Okinawa. After the war, two more brothers, who were too young to face conscription, returned to the United States and joined the Military Intelligence Service for the Korean War.

3Amaral And Luis Samacumbi
Angolan Civil War

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The Angolan Civil War, which raged from 1975 to 2002, was fought between the pro-Soviet MPLA and the US-backed UNITA, both of whom were willing to make use of child soldiers. While his parents and younger brother fled into the forest, Amaral (the elder brother) was taken by UNITA as a teenager. Here Luis experienced near-starvation and the abduction of his mother before he was forcibly conscripted by the MPLA in 1987 at the age of 14.

Rising quickly through the ranks, Luis soon found himself commanding a unit of 10 tanks and 150 men, even though he was still a teenager. This was routed in 1991 when anti-tank fire took out nine tanks and all except 30 of the men. Luis survived by hiding in his sole surviving tank for several days. Understandably, Luis jumped at the chance to leave the army during a ceasefire the following year. He studied nursing and now works for several charitable foundations. It was only in 2004, after a separation lasting 30 years, that the brothers met again, with Amaral (who had lost a leg to a landmine) sending a letter from a Zambian refugee camp. Upon their reunion, Luis was shocked to find that the anti-tank missiles which had so devastated his unit had been handled by his brother.

2James And Alexander Campbell
American Civil War

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The Scottish Campbell brothers emigrated to the United States in the 1850s. James set himself up as a drayman and clerk in Charleston, and Alexander worked as a stonemason in New York (although he occasionally joined his brother further south). Both joined local militia companies. This meant, however, that they were swept onto opposite sides when war broke out, even though they kept up a relatively amicable correspondence.

It was over control of James’s adopted city that the two brothers very nearly met in combat, with the Battle of Secessionville stemming from the Union’s attempt to retake Charleston. In the first attack on Fort Lamar, Alexander (as Colour Sergeant of the 79th Highlanders) stormed the parapet and placed the Union flag there, holding his position in the face of prolonged musket and cannon fire until ordered to withdraw. James was among the defenders and stiffened Confederate resolve at a critical time by mounting the parapet unarmed and hurling a log into advancing Union troops.

In the aftermath of the battle (which was won by the Confederacy), James coolly wrote his brother: “I was astonished to hear from the prisoners that you was color Bearer of the Regmt that assaulted the Battery at this point the other day.” He also said that that if they met again, “you have but to discharge your duty to your cause for I can assure you I will strive to discharge my duty to my country and my cause.”

1William Patrick And Heinz Hitler
World War II

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William and Heinz, the sons of Hitler’s half-brother Alois, followed radically different paths in life. William was born after Alois moved to England and married an English woman in 1911. Alois abandoned this family to return to Germany in 1914 (presumably due to World War I), where he got married again. Heinz was born to this second marriage in 1920. After Adolf Hitler’s rise to power, William was invited to Germany to take a job in a bank. When asked to relinquish his British citizenship, William wisely fled to the United States, where he criticized his uncle’s regime and claimed that mental illness ran in the family. Adolf started calling him “my loathsome nephew.”

William’s half-brother Heinz, meanwhile, was his uncle’s favorite nephew. He loyally joined the Wehrmacht, although he was later captured by the Soviets and killed in 1942. The United States Navy was eventually induced to accept William after he wrote a letter to the president. He attained the rank of Pharmacist’s Mate before receiving an honorable discharge in 1947. Following the war, he changed his name, and his three sons now live quietly in Rhode Island.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2014/10/14/10-sibling-soldiers-who-fought-on-opposite-sides/

Top 10 Myths About Ancient Egypt

The Ancient Egyptians are shrouded in an aura of mystery and intrigue, cultivated by continuing archeological discoveries. Unfortunately, the sense of awe that pervades Ancient Egypt has also produced countless myths. This list will investigate the most common misconceptions about Ancient Egypt, and include some interesting digressions that will illuminate new areas of their advanced culture.


Cleopatra VII, the last Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, has always been a cultural figure, renowned for her alluring beauty. This idea has been perpetuated by everybody from Shakespeare to film director Joseph L. Mankiewicz. However, Roman coins show Cleopatra to have masculine features: a large nose, protruding chin and thin lips – not any culture’s archetype of good looks. On the other hand, she wasn’t lacking in brains; contemporary sources note Cleopatra as being charismatic and clever, as opposed to possessing physical beauty.


Reading about the Ancient Egyptians with their pyramids, mummies and imposing gods, it is easy to reach the conclusion that they were preoccupied with death. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. The great labor that the Egyptians took in burying each other was actually a way of glorifying life. For example, many of the illustrations that adorn the inside of tombs are celebrations of farming, hunting and fishing. Furthermore, the expensive ornaments buried with the Egyptians helped them reach the afterlife, where they continued their current job without any hardships. Mummifying was a way to keep the corpse lifelike, ready for this idealized form of everyday life. Clearly the Egyptians were obsessed with life, not death.


Listverse attracts a very rational crowd, but unfortunately there are some who believe that the Egyptians were in contact with aliens. They allege that the pyramids are superhuman achievements and that some murals actually depict extraterrestrials. This is simply insulting to the legacy of the Ancient Egyptians. Whilst the Great Pyramid at Giza is mathematically astounding, its construction was not beyond the ingenious astronomers, scholars and architects of the time. And while the Great Pyramid stood as the tallest structure for almost 4000 years, that does not mean that the Egyptians were friends with aliens; it only means that no culture rivaled the Egyptians at building monuments until the 19th century. Concerning murals, the picture above speaks for itself.


Many believe that we have found out everything we can about Ancient Egypt, and that Egyptology is a dead and buried subject. This is simply incorrect. Fascinating discoveries are still being made daily about Ancient Egypt, shedding new light on their civilization. For instance, a “solar boat” is currently being extracted from the Great Pyramid. It is presumed that this solar boat would allow the dead Pharaohs to assist sun-god Ra in his eternal battle with Apep, demon of darkness. Every night, Ra sails his solar boat into combat with Apep and at dawn he emerges triumphant and cruises across the sky.


People seem to assume that the Ancient Egyptians invented hieroglyphs. However, primitive hieroglyphs were probably brought to Egypt by West Asian invaders. Another myth, fueled by the images of snakes and disembodied legs, is that the hieroglyphs were a language of curses and magical incantations. In reality, most of the time hieroglyphs were used for innocuous inscriptions or historical depictions. Curses are rarely found in tombs and most of those discovered have been impotent: “His years shall be diminished”, “He shall have no heir”. Interestingly, until the Rosetta Stone was discovered in 1798, and later translated, most scholars believed that the hieroglyphs were illustrations, not phonetic sounds making up an alphabet.


Hieroglyphs cover the interior of many Ancient Egyptian tombs and palaces. But contrary to myth, the pyramids are relatively undecorated. Indeed, until recently the pyramids at Giza were thought to be absolutely bare inside. This supposition was shattered when hieroglyphs were found behind a secret door in the Great Pyramid a few months ago. Also, the pyramids were not all limestone-colored 4000 years ago: some sections, such as interior pillars, were painted red or white. This basic paint and hidden writing still leaves the pyramids extremely austere; it is their architecture that cements the pyramids as the oldest and most popular stone buildings in the world.


When the Pharaohs died, their servants were not killed and entombed with them as is popularly believed, bar a few exceptions. Two Pharaohs of the First Dynasty of Egypt are known to have had their servants buried with them. The human tendency to generalize has led to the myth that this was a common occurrence amongst all of the other 300 or so Pharaohs. The later Pharaohs probably realized that their trusty servants were more useful living than dead, so they buried themselves with ‘shabtis’ instead. These were figurines that could be animated to help the Pharaohs in the afterlife.


The idea that slaves built the pyramids in Egypt has been circulating since Greek historian Herodotus reported it in the 5th century BC. It was confirmed as false when tombs containing the remains of the pyramid builders were found next to the pyramids at Giza. Being buried beside the divine Pharaohs would be the greatest honor, never granted to slaves. In addition, huge numbers of cattle bones excavated at Giza show that beef, a delicacy in Ancient Egypt, was a staple food of the builders. The builders of the pyramids were evidently highly skilled Egyptian craftsmen, not slaves as Hollywood or perhaps the Bible makes people think.


This follows on from the last myth and is obviously a delicate issue. Unfortunately for those who follow the Bible as a literal account of history, there is no evidence to suggest that the Israelites were enslaved in Ancient Egypt. We know much about the Ancient Egyptians from their thorough records, yet they never mention keeping a race of slaves, they never mention the Ten Plagues and there is no archeological information that shows millions of Hebrews inhabiting Egypt or the desert. Besides, the escape of millions of slaves would have destroyed the Egyptian economy, yet it was thriving throughout the second millennium BC when the exodus supposedly happened.


The ‘curse’ that blighted those who opened the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun was a triumph of media hype and public susceptibility. The myth is that a curse laid by Tutankhamun killed sponsor Lord Carnarvon and other members of the expedition. Although some have come up with theories of dangerous fungi and gases accumulating inside the tomb, the deaths do not need a special explanation. Only 8 of the 58 present at the uncovering of the tomb died within a dozen years. Expedition leader Carter, the most obvious target for a curse, lived on for 16 years. The other coincidences are a case of confirmation bias: any misfortune that befell anybody in the expedition was ascribed to the Curse of the Pharaohs. The curse is a prime example of people’s impulse to believe an exciting story instead of the facts.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2011/08/29/top-10-myths-about-ancient-egypt/

10 Unforgettable Stories History Forgot

This list is inspired by an excellent book I recently bought called “Lost to Time“. I strongly recommend you buy it if you want to read much more detail about the stories, people and places in this list.

Cahokia 2

Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site is the area of an ancient indigenous city (c. 600–1400 AD) near Collinsville, Illinois. It is the largest archaeological site related to the Mississippian culture, which developed advanced societies in central and eastern North America, beginning more than five centuries before the arrival of Europeans. It is a National Historic Landmark and designated site for state protection. In addition, it is one of only twenty World Heritage Sites in the territory of the United States. It is the largest prehistoric earthen construction in the Americas north of Mexico. It is also home to a wooden structure which appears identical in function to Stonehenge.

At the high point of its development, Cahokia was the largest urban center north of the great Mesoamerican cities in Mexico. Although it was home to only about 1,000 people before c. 1050, its population grew explosively after that date. Archaeologists estimate the city’s population at between 8,000 and 40,000 at its peak, with more people living in outlying farming villages that supplied the main urban center. In 1250, its population was larger than that of London, England.

If the highest population estimates are correct, Cahokia was larger than any subsequent city in the United States, until about 1800, when Philadelphia’s population grew beyond 40,000.

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The steamboat Sultana was a Mississippi River paddlewheeler, destroyed in an explosion on 27 April, 1865. This resulted in the greatest maritime disaster in United States history. An estimated 1,800 of the 2,400 passengers were killed when one of the ship’s four boilers exploded, and the Sultana sank not far from Memphis, Tennessee. The reason that this disaster was mostly forgotten by history is because it took place soon after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, and during the closing weeks of the Civil War. Most of the new passengers were Union soldiers, chiefly from Ohio and just released from Confederate prison camps such as Cahawba and Andersonville. The US government had contracted with the Sultana to transport these former prisoners of war back to their homes. The cause of the explosion was a leaky and poorly repaired steam boiler. The boiler (or “boilers”) gave way when the steamer was about 7 to 9 miles north of Memphis at 2:00 A.M. in a terrific explosion that sent some of the passengers on deck into the water and destroyed a good portion of the ship. Hot coals scattered by the explosion soon turned the remaining superstructure into an inferno, the glare of which could be seen in Memphis.


Ziryab (789-857 AD) was a Persian polymath: a poet, musician, singer, cosmetologist, fashion designer, celebrity, trendsetter, strategist, astronomer, botanis, geographer and former slave. Most people have never heard of Ziryab, yet at least two of his innovations remain to this day: he introduced the idea of a three course meal (soup, main course, pudding) and he introduced the use of crystal for drinking glasses (previously metal was the primary material). He introduced asparagus and other vegetables into society, and made significant changes and additions to the music world. He had numerous children, all of whom became musicians, and spread his legacy throughout Europe. He could perhaps be considered an ancient Bach.

The list of societal changes Ziryab made is immense – he popularized short hair and shaving for men, and wore different clothes based on the seasons. He created a pleasant tasting toothpaste which helped personal hygeine (and longevity) in the region, and also invented an underarm deodorant. He also promoted bathing twice daily.

Wp Peshtigo

Most people reading this will be familiar with the Great Chicago Fire that killed hundreds and destroyed 4 square miles of Chicago, Illinois. However, most people don’t know that on the very same day a far worse fire occurred, in Peshtigo, Wisconsin. The October 8, 1871, Peshtigo Fire in Peshtigo, Wisconsin, is the conflagration that caused the most deaths by fire in United States history. On the same day as the Peshtigo and Chicago fires, the cities of Holland and Manistee, Michigan, across Lake Michigan, also burned, and the same fate befell Port Huron at the southern end of Lake Huron. By the time it was over, 1,875 square miles of forest had been consumed and twelve communities were destroyed. Between 1,200 and 2,500 people are thought to have lost their lives.

The fire was so intense it jumped several miles over the waters of Green Bay, and burned parts of the Door Peninsula, as well as jumping the Peshtigo River itself to burn on both sides of the inlet town. Surviving witnesses reported that the firestorm generated a tornado that threw rail cars and houses into the air. Many of the survivors of the firestorm escaped the flames by immersing themselves in the Peshtigo River, wells, or other nearby bodies of water. Some drowned while others succumbed to hypothermia in the frigid river.

Portugal Gil Eanes

The name of Gil Eannes is hardly a household word; nor is that of the place associated with the Portuguese explorer, Cape Bojador. Nor indeed did Eannes discover the cape: the place had been known for many years. To journeyers of Eannes’s time, Bojador represented an unbreachable barrier, a point of no return, and it was the achievement of this reluctant hero to pass that invisible boundary, in 1434. In so doing, he opened new territory, not only on land but in the mind, and thus made possible the golden age of Portuguese exploration, with all its glories and horrors.

At that time conventional wisdom maintained that the Sun was boiling hot at the Equator. Thus, even if a ship could get past Cape Bojador, the equatorial Sun would eventually burn it to powder. Furthermore, should a vessel somehow make it past all other hazards, its crew would most surely meet unspeakable monsters in the sub-equatorial region known as the Antipodes. By having the courage to risk his life (consequently opening up new worlds,) Eanes was effectively behind the European age of discoveries to come. He was, however, also in part to blame for what would become a thriving trade in slaves for centuries after.


Joseph Warren (1741-1775 AD) was regarded by many in his time as the true architect of the American Revolution. He was the key figure in one of history’s most famous tea parties. He wrote a set of Resolves that served as the blueprint for the first autonomous American government. He delivered a speech that sparked the first battles of the Revolutionary War. He sent Paul Revere out on one of history’s most famous rides. He was the only Patriot leader, prior to the Declaration of Independence, to risk his life against the British on the Battlefield (Sandler 55). And, remarkably, he has been largely lost to history. He was surrounded by names we are all familiar with, and yet his own name is barely ever heard these days. Interestingly, his brother went on to found Harvard Medical School, and fourteen US States have a Warren County named after him.

473Px-Magdalen With The Smoking Flame C1640 Georges De La Tour

Georges de La Tour (March 13, 1593, Vic-sur-Seille, Moselle – January 30, 1652, Lunéville) was a painter, who spent most of his working life in the Duchy of Lorraine, (which was absorbed into France between 1641 and 1648,) during his lifetime. He painted mostly religious scenes lit by candlelight. After centuries of posthumous obscurity, during the 20th century, he became one of the most highly regarded of French 17th-century Baroque artists. In his lifetime he was known as the Painter to the King (of France), and was regarded as one of the greatest artists. Very little of his work survives and the reason for his obscurity is unknown, but thanks to the efforts of Hermann Voss, a German scholar, in 1915 his work was rediscovered.

765Px-Plaque Commemorating Those Killed In Operation Tiger Crop

Exercise Tiger, or Operation Tiger, were the code names for a full-scale rehearsal in 1944 for the D-Day invasion of Normandy. During the exercise, an Allied convoy was attacked, resulting in the deaths of 749 American servicemen. The lack of widespread knowledge of this exercise was due to intentional efforts (unlike most others on this list). As a result of official embarrassment and concerns over possible leaks just prior to the real invasion, all survivors were sworn to secrecy by their superiors. Ten missing officers involved in the exercise had Bigot–level clearance for D-Day, meaning that they knew the invasion plans and could have compromised the invasion should they have been captured alive. As a result, the invasion was nearly called off until the bodies of all ten victims were found.

With little or no support, from the American or British armed forces, for any venture to recover remains or dedicate a memorial to the incident, Devon resident and civilian Ken Small took on the task of seeking to commemorate the event, after discovering evidence of the aftermath washed up on the shore while beachcombing in the early 1970s.


In 1904, New York’s modern subway system was officially opened – changing the city forever. But what most people don’t know is that it was not the first subway. Because of terrible congestion on Broadway, Alfred Ely Beach (the young owner of the fledgling magazine Scientific American) conceived of an idea – to build an underground railway, which used a giant fan to propel and suck a railcar back and forth through a tunnel. Because of the corruption of the commissioner of public works, William Tweed, Beach had to get consent to build his tunnel by pretending it was to be a mail delivery system. Tweed (whose income was derived largely from city transportation) did not veto the request.

Beach and a small group of men began digging a tunnel under Broadway in the dark of night. The entire enterprise was kept secret, as dirt was hidden in the basement of a building Beach bought for that purpose. The work went well, but just before they could complete their first line the press got wind and it became public. Beach’s team worked extra hard to finish the subway, and in grand style they opened to the public on March 1, 1870. He charged twenty-five cents per passenger to travel from Warren Street to Murray Street. It was a huge success – carrying over 400,000 passengers in its first year of operation.

Unfortunately Tweed was outraged and vetoed future extensions to the subway. Tweed was eventually imprisoned for his corruption, and permission was given for Beach to resume work extending the subway, but unfortunately his private investors were fast disappearing, due to the beginnings of an economic crisis. The subway was not completed and remained hidden under the city completely sealed up (complete with the luxury car and machinery) until it was subsumed into the present City Hall Station. Here is the route of the subway on Google Maps.


The House of Wisdom was a library and translation institute in Abbassid-era Baghdad, Iraq. It was a key institution in the Translation Movement, and considered to have been a major intellectual center of the Islamic Golden Age. The House was an unrivaled center for the study of humanities and for Islamic science, including Islamic mathematics, Islamic astronomy, Islamic medicine, Islamic alchemy and chemistry, zoology and Islamic geography. Drawing on Persian, Indian and Greek texts—including those of Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, Hippocrates, Euclid, Plotinus, Galen, Sushruta, Charaka, Aryabhata and Brahmagupta—the scholars accumulated a great collection of world knowledge, and built on it through their own discoveries.

Along with all other libraries in Baghdad, the House of Wisdom was destroyed during the Mongol invasion of Baghdad, in 1258. It was said that the waters of the Tigris ran black for six months with ink from the enormous quantities of books flung into the river. The amount of knowledge lost that year is indescribable. It is even more surprising that while most people are familiar with the destruction of the library of Alexandria, few know about the loss of the House of Wisdom.

Works Cited
Sandler, Martin. Lost to Time. New York: Sterling Publishing Co, 2010. 55. Print

Read more: http://listverse.com/2010/12/28/10-unforgettable-stories-history-forgot/

10 Insane Military Tactics That Actually Worked

While some military tactics are set in stone, a mixture of desperation and quick thinking have led to some tactics which simply make their creator look like a lunatic. Some of these tactics seem like they’d be instant death sentences to their side, but they actually did just the opposite.

10 The Cat Army


Animals have been used throughout the history of human warfare, usually as things that are as simple to light on fire as humans but much easier to talk into it. But rarely do we see animals being used as elegantly as Cambyses II of Persia used cats. He was fighting the Egyptians in the battle of Pelusium in 525 B.C. and as we all know, the cat held a high place in Egyptian society as sacred creatures and the Achaemenid Empire sought to use this to their advantage in the invasion of Egypt.

Cambyses ordered his men to paint felines on their shields, and he brought hundreds of actual cats into his front lines. The plan worked: The Egyptian archers refused to fire on his felines, fearing that they would injure the animals—a crime punishable by death. Instead they retreated, and most were massacred by the pursuing Persians. This ultimately led to the capture of the pharaoh.

9 The Spartan Sikhs


When you think of the Sikhs (provided you know what Sikhs are), you wouldn’t normally think of violence . . . unless you looked into one of the few battles the Sikhs actually fought—in which 48 soldiers held off 100,000 men.

The Sikhs had been fleeing the Mughal Empire for days after taking Anandpur Sahib. After seeking shelter in a mud fort, they were awoken by the Mughal forces, who had surrounded them. For most, this would mean surrendering before the horde had the chance to knock on the front gate. But for the Sikhs, it meant leading a defense against a vastly superior enemy long enough for their Guru to escape. Somehow, the 48 men defended the fort through the night, distracting the enemy, killing 3,000 of them, and ensuring the survival of their religion.

8 The Siege Within A Siege


After a Gallic revolt at Alesia in 52 B.C., Julius Caesar marched 60,000 legionnaires to the town and laid siege to the 80,000-strong Gallic force. When word reached Caesar that a relief force of 120,000 was marching towards his forces, instead of retreating, he ordered his men to build a second set of walls around the first.

For the next few weeks, while outnumbered four to one, Caesar led both a siege of Alesia and the defense of his own fortifications. On October 2, he personally led a devastating cavalry charge against an attacking force of 60,000 men with 6,000 of his own, forcing both the relief force and those in Alessia to surrender.

7 Hammers vs U-Boats


German U-boats played a major role in disrupting British, American, and French supplies during the First World War. Single German U-boat captains such as Kretschmer were responsible for the sinking of 200,000 tons of shipping alone. These glorified tin cans were starving out Europe one merchant ship at a time, replacing Christmas turkeys with Christmas potatoes.

With no submarines of their own and no real countermeasures, one might expect some strange solutions. But nothing was nearly as insane as the British solution—a hammer and bag. Convoys would send a blacksmith and a few gunners out on a small raft in the dead of night. Once the team spotted a U-boat periscope, they would approach it in silence and either secure the bag around it or smash it with their hammer, blinding the captain and forcing them to surface. The method was surprisingly effective, with 16 U-boats being hammered.

6 Inferior Technology


Bringing a knife to a gunfight is ill-advised, and the same goes for spears and arrows, as many a nation learned when Europeans decided to go “exploring.” So it seemed odd that, during World War II, the Russians chose to use biplanes on the Eastern Front when the Luftwaffe had much more advanced tech.

The Polikarpov Po-2 biplanes were entrusted to the Night Witches—a brigade of women bombers. At first, they were given the inferior technology because they were women. They soon proved themselves, with many flying over 1,000 missions by the end of the war. There was one secret to their success: The speedy German Me-109s were unable to decelerate and hit the slow moving Po-2 planes without stalling.

Though they could only carry two bombs each, their wooden frames made them undetectable to radar, and they remained some of the only Soviet aircraft to be able to survive the skies during the German occupation. And they were flown by schoolgirls with around four hours of training.

5 The Christian Burial


The tale of the Trojan Horse was designed in part to alert city guards to the danger of warmongers bearing gifts—or in this case, Vikings bearing coffins.

Hastein, a Viking leader, was looking to sack Rome in A.D. 860 in an attempt to prove himself. Knowing that Vikings were far better at pillaging villages than cities, he came up with a plan to bypass the city walls: Pretend to be a dead Norseman seeking burial in the city. Hastein played dead in his coffin and his raiding force just walked through the front gate. Although his plan was met with great success, he later learned that he had mistaken the city of Luna for the city of Rome and pillaged the wrong city.

4 Waiting Patiently


Richard the Lionheart faced the army of Saladin at Arsuf in 1191. He was outnumbered three to one by a force of mostly mounted troops. Facing the army in a pitched battle would be suicide, and instead Richard formed a defensive perimeter with his back to a river and waited—while under constant and heavy missile attack—from early morning until mid-afternoon.

His tactic was to wait for Saladin to get impatient and give up some kind of advantage, and after hours of constant missile attack, he was given his chance. Saladin, thinking that the Crusaders weren’t going to move for days, ordered his men off their mounts so that they could better fire their missiles, eventually moving closer to the Crusader position. Upon seeing this, Richard ordered his heavy cavalry to charge, decimating the unmounted enemy and winning the battle.

3 Flaming Camels


Patience is one thing, but setting fire to your camels—your only means of escape—is quite another. That didn’t stop Timur, descendant of Genghis Khan, from doing so during his capture of Delhi.

When faced by the Sultan and his 120 war elephants in 1398, Timur ordered his terrified, fleeing men to dismount and load their camels with as much hay as possible. As soon as the elephants started their charge, Timur’s force set their mounts on fire and prodded them toward the enemy.

Strangely not a monumental mistake, the sight of the burning camels was enough to spook the elephants and send them back into the Indian frontline. The Indian army was trampled by their own elephants, which were equipped with chain mail and poisoned tusks, allowing Timur an easy victory. He was also able to replace his camels with 120 elephants, which he used later in his invasion of India.

2 The Enemy Of My Enemy

mexican standoff

May 5, 1945 saw one of the strangest battles of World War II. Only three days before the official surrender of Germany, Major Josef Gangl and his nine men surrendered Castle Itter and its French prisoners to 14 US soldiers.

When the Americans arrived to evacuate the prisoners and their former captors, they were engaged by elements of the 17th SS Grenadier Division who had been sent to execute the prisoners. Gangl, realizing that the prison would be overrun before help arrived, offered his assistance to the Americans. Throughout the morning, German and American soldiers fought side by side in the only recorded case of this happening in the war. After some time, an American relief force arrived and routed the SS, but not before Gangl was killed by a sniper. It should be noted that giving automatic weapons to prisoners of war is only advisable in extreme situations.

1 Ice

Blue Ice Cubes

If there’s one thing history has taught us, it’s that if you invade Russia during the winter, you’re going to have a bad time. The Teutonic Knights weren’t immune to this rule.

The Crusaders were far more equipped than the Russians, with full plate mail and armored horses. The Russians would have been easily beaten in a straight fight, so they retreated over the frozen Lake Peipus and then turned around to face them, hoping the lake would slow the enemy down. The over-eager knights followed them, not realizing that the ice would be unable to hold their armored weight. According to reports, the Crusader ranks were in chaos, slipping and breaking through the ice while fighting the armored Russian infantry. Eventual archer bombardment led to a full retreat of the Teutonic Knights.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2013/09/08/10-insane-military-tactics-that-actually-worked/

Top 10 Great Historic Speeches

We have already covered famous fictional speeches, so it seems a good time to discuss non-fictional ones. This list includes the greatest speeches in all time and I have also attempted to put them into order from great to greatest – this is not an easy task and I expect there will be some debate on the order – but debate is good! If you think there are other great speeches that are not included here, please feel free to say so in the comments. I may add to the “notable omissions” section. Before reading, please note that I have only included one speech per person.

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

Kennedy was inaugurated on January 20, 1960 and on that day he gave this speech. In the speech he asks all Americans to unite against common enemies of tyranny, poverty, disease, and war. To work toward this end, Kennedy created the Peace Corps in 1961. This speech is only one of the many that Kennedy gave and it shows his great talent for rhetoric.

You can see the second half of this speech here, or you can read it in full here.

395Px-Pericles Pio-Clementino Inv269 N2

The tribute of deeds has been paid in part; for the dead have them in deeds, and it remains only that their children should be maintained at the public charge until they are grown up: this is the solid prize with which, as with a garland, Athens crowns her sons living and dead, after a struggle like theirs.

Pericles was a statesman and orator in Athens during its golden age. He had such a profound influence on society that his contemporary historians called him “the first citizen of Athens”. This speech was delivered as part of the public funeral for those who died at the end of the first year of the Peloponnesian War. According to Wikipedia, It was established Athenian practice by the late fifth century to hold a public funeral in honour of all those who had died in war. The remains of the dead were left out for three days in a tent, where offerings could be made for the dead. Then a funeral procession was held, with ten cypress coffins carrying the remains, one for each of the Athenian tribes. The procession led to a public grave (the Kerameikos), where they were buried. The last part of the ceremony was a speech delivered by a prominent Athenian citizen (in this case, Pericles).

You can read the rest of the speech here.


You have left it to women in your land, the men of all civilised countries have left it to women, to work out their own salvation. That is the way in which we women of England are doing. Human life for us is sacred, but we say if any life is to be sacrificed it shall be ours; we won’t do it ourselves, but we will put the enemy in the position where they will have to choose between giving us freedom or giving us death.

Pankhurst was one of the leaders of the British suffragette movement before World War I and her name is the one most commonly associated with the group. She was arrested on a number of occasions and it was between imprisonments that she travelled to America and gave the speech here. It was not until 1928 that women were granted fully equal rights of voting as men in Britain.

You can read the rest of the speech here.

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You have thus far waged unjust wars, at one time and another; you have brandished mad weapons to your mutual destruction, for no other reason than covetousness and pride, as a result of which you have deserved eternal death and sure damnation. We now hold out to you wars which contain the glorious reward of martyrdom, which will retain that title of praise now and forever.

Pope Urban II (French born Otho de Lagery) is best known as the Pope who started the first crusade. It is with the speech here that he declared the crusade open at the Council of Clermont. The first crusade was called in order to help the Byzantine Emporer fight against the Islamic rulers in the Holy Land. The crusade was a success and the Kingdom of Jerusalem was created as a result. In addition to starting the first crusade, Pope Urban II created the Roman Curia (a group of Bishops who help in the day to day running of the Church), and was considered a great diplomat.

You can read the rest of the speech here.


A borrowed book is like a guest in the house; it must be treated with punctiliousness, with a certain considerate formality. You must see that it sustains no damage; it must not suffer while under your roof. You cannot leave it carelessly, you cannot mark it, you cannot turn down the pages, you cannot use it familiarly. And then, some day, although this is seldom done, you really ought to return it.

Phelps was an author and a scholar who taught at Yale University in the English department for 41 years. This speech is included because it is a great treatise on books and reading. It was read over the radio one year before the Nazi’s began their systematic destruction of books in Germany which did not match Nazi ideals.

You can read the rest of the speech here.

423Px-Sojourner Truth 01

Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get it – and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?

Sojourner Truth was a slave woman freed by the abolition of slavery in New York. She became a well known support of the abolitionist cause, traveling around the US. The speech here was delivered in 1851 at the Ohio Women’s Rights Convention. In 1872 she tried to vote in the presidential election but was turned away at the polling place. She died in 1883.

You can read the rest of the speech here.

During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.

Due to a tip-off from the CIA, Mandela was arrested in 1962 for inciting people to strike and leaving the country without a permit. He was sentenced to five years in prison. In 1964, the government brought further charges including sabotage, high treason and conspiracy to overthrow the government. This speech is his opening statement at the trial.

You can read the rest of the speech here.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.” I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

King delivered this speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The speech is seen as a turning point in the struggle for equality that black Americans were suffering. The speech was ranked Top American Speech by a poll of scholars of public address. The famous part of the speech (“I have a dream”) was not actually written down – King ad-libbed this section.

You can read the rest of the speech here.

Lincoln Abraham Photograph-Thumb-425X563

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war.

The Gettysburg address is the most quoted speech in US history and is the most famous of Lincoln’s. The exact wording of the speech is not known as the five original copies that still exist all differ slightly and differ from contemporary newspaper texts. The speech was delivered at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on the afternoon of Thursday, November 19, 1863, during the American Civil War, four and a half months after the Union armies defeated those of the Confederacy at the decisive Battle of Gettysburg.

You can read the rest of the speech here.

We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender[.]

This speech was given shortly after Winston Churchill became Prime Minister. It was the second of the three well known speeches given by Churchill during the Battle of France (the others being “Blood, toil, tears, and sweat”, and “This was their finest hour”). The speech was given in the wake of withdrawal of British forces from from France at Dunkirk. Churchill, a master rhetorician, used anaphora (see item 3), asyndeton (see item 9), and Germanic root words (see item 3 here) throughout the speech to give it more impact.

You can read the rest of the speech here.


Well George, we knocked the bastard off.

This famous line was spoken by Sir Edmund Hilary after he and Sherpa Tenzing had conquered mount Everest. I have included it here (even though it is not truly a speech) because it is such a great line and has the force of a speech!

Notable omissions: Patrick Henry’s “Give me liberty or give me death”

This article is licensed under the GFDL because it contains quotations from the Wikipedia articles: Gettysburg Address, and Pericles’ Funeral Oration

Read more: http://listverse.com/2008/06/01/top-10-great-historic-speeches/

10 Gunslinging Outlaws of the American Wild West

The American Wild West includes the history, folklore, people, and events of the mid-1800s to the beginning of the 20th century (though some people date it up to the 1920s). During this time of expansion from coast to coast, many people rose to fame through their exciting (and often illegal) lives. We still remember these men and women today and this list looks at ten of the most fascinating and memorable.

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“Curly Bill” was so-called because of his head of thick, curly black hair. After the death of “Old Man” Clanton, he became the leader of the “Cowboys” gang of cattle rustlers in Tombstone, Arizona. He also worked for a while as a tax collector for Cochise County Sheriff John Behan. Curly Bill was a heavy drinker who became even more rambunctious when drunk. One night, while drinking with other Cowboys, he was asked by Marshal Fred White to give up his pistol. In handing the gun over to the Marshall, it accidentally discharged, hitting White. Fred White, who had been friendly with Curly Bill, made a statement on his deathbed that he believed the shooting was an accident and Brocius was acquitted. Wyatt Earp testified in his defense, but later shot and killed him in retaliation for the murder of his brother Morgan Earp.


Sam Bass started out an honest man. After running away from the abusive uncle who raised him, he went to work in a sawmill in Mississippi. His dream was to be a cowboy and he eventually made his way to Texas. After one season, he decided he didn’t like it. In 1876, Bass and a rough character named Joel Collins drove a herd of longhorns up north where the prices for cattle were higher. They were supposed to go back to Texas to pay off the owners of the herd, but instead they took the $8,000 profit for themselves. He and Collins wasted the money from the cattle drive on gambling in Deadwood. A few months later, he and Collins went into another venture- stagecoach robbery. After holding up seven stagecoaches, they didn’t make much money. They set their sights on bigger prizes and turned to train robbery. Bass and his gang robbed the Union Pacific gold train from San Francisco, netting over $60,000, which is to this day the largest single robbery of the Union Pacific. He was wounded by Texas Rangers on the way to rob a small bank in Round Rock, and died two days later on his 27th birthday.


Myra Maybelle Shirley was born in Carthage, Missouri. As a young lady, she attended the Carthage Female Academy where she excelled in all subjects and became an accomplished pianist. She grew up with Cole Younger and later befriended the James brothers. When the outlaws of the James-Younger gang needed to hide out, they often stayed at the Shirley family farm. It wasn’t long before Maybelle was introduced to a life of crime and earned the nickname “The Bandit Queen.” In 1866, Belle married Jim Reed, a former Confederate Army guerrilla. Jim Reed tried to live the honest life of a farmer, but when that didn’t pan out, he fell in with the Starrs, a Cherokee Indian family notorious for stealing horses. Along with his wife’s friends, the Jameses and Youngers, they planned and executed many daring heists. Jim was killed while trying to escape from the custody of a deputy sheriff who had arrested him for one such robbery. After the loss of her husband, Belle made her living organizing and planning robberies, as well as fencing stolen goods. When she was unable to bribe the law into looking the other way, she would seduce them to get what she wanted. She married Sam Starr in 1880, and two years later, both of them were convicted of stealing horses. They were released a year later and went right back into lawlessness. Belle was murdered on Feb. 3, 1889, two days before she was to turn 41. She was shot in the back while riding home from the general store. Her killer has never been identified.


Cole Younger’s life was forever changed when his father was murdered by Union Captain Walley. Mr. Younger had given Walley a severe beating for making advances on his daughter (Cole’s sister). Cole was already a member of Quantrill’s Raiders but after the murder of his father, he joined the Confederate Army. It is not for certain when he went into banditry, but the first time he was mentioned as a suspect was after the 1868 robbery of Nimrod Long & Co., a bank in Russellville, Kentucky. Cole and his brothers formed a gang with Jesse and Frank James. They robbed stagecoaches, trains, and banks in Missouri, Kentucky, Kansas, and West Virginia. Luck ran out for the Younger boys on September 7, 1876 during a botched bank robbery. Cole and his brothers Jim and Bob pled guilty to avoid the hangman’s noose. They were sentenced to life, but were paroled in 1901. Cole toured the nation with Frank James giving speeches about the Wild West. He later became a Christian and renounced his criminal past and died peacefully 4 years later, with 11 bullets still embedded in his body.


James Miller was also known as “Deacon Jim” because he went to church and did not smoke or drink. Despite his piousness, he was actually one of the deadliest guns in the Wild West. He openly stated that he would kill anyone for money, and his rate was reported at anywhere from $150 to $2,000. Miller’s usual method was to ambush his victims at night using a shotgun and wearing a black frock coat, making him hard to see in the darkness. His coat also concealed a steel plate he wore on his chest to protect him from opposing gunfire, an early version of a bullet-proof vest. He is known to have committed 14 murders, but rumors swelled that number to 50. He was arrested in Oklahoma, for the murder of A.A. “Gus” Bobbitt. Not wanting to leave it up to a jury, a lynch mob dragged Miller and three others out to an abandoned stable to be hanged. Before he died, he made two requests. He wanted his ring to be given to his wife (who was a cousin of John Wesley Hardin) and to be allowed to wear his hat while being hanged. He went out on his own terms, shouting “Let ‘er rip!” before he jumped off his box to his death. His body and the bodies of the other three men lynched that night were left hanging for hours until a photographer could be found to immortalize the event.

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The Sundance Kid (Henry Longabaugh) earned his nickname when he was caught and convicted of horse thievery in Sundance, Wyoming. Despite his reputation as a gunfighter, he is not certain to have actually killed anyone. After his release from jail in 1896, he and Robert LeRoy Parker aka “Butch Cassidy” formed the gang known as the Wild Bunch. They were responsible for the longest string of successful train and bank robberies in American history. Due to the pressure of the Pinkerton Detective Agency on their trail, Sundance, Butch, and Etta Place left the United States for Argentina to let things cool down. He is believed to have been killed in a shootout in Bolivia, but several family members claim he actually returned to the states, changed his name to William Henry Long, and lived in the small town of Duchesne, Utah until 1936. As of this writing, Long’s body has been exhumed and is undergoing DNA testing to determine the truth.


In 1879, at the age of 13, Robert LeRoy Parker (Butch Cassidy) lived and worked with his family on the ranch of Jim Marshall in Circleville, Utah. It was there that he met his friend and mentor, Mike Cassidy who gave Bob his first gun and taught him how to shoot. Years later, Bob would take his last name, Cassidy, as a tribute. His first run-in with the law occurred when he rode into town to buy a new pair of overalls. The general store was closed, so Bob let himself in, found a pair that fit, and left a note promising that he would be back to pay later. The merchant reported him to the Sherriff, but he was acquitted of any crime. On June 24, 1889, he and three others robbed the San Miguel Valley Bank in Telluride, netting $21,000. With this money, he bought a ranch near the infamous “Hole-in-the-Wall” outlaw hideout. Parker, by this time “Butch Cassidy”, was never a very good rancher, and it is believed to have simply been a cover for his illegal activities. In 1896, he became the leader of the infamous group of criminals known as the Wild Bunch that included some of the most well-known outlaws of the Wild West. As with the Sundance Kid, it is unknown if he really died in Bolivia, or if, as some relatives claim, he returned to America.


The son of a Methodist preacher, he was named after the founder of the Methodist faith. When he was only 14 years old, he stabbed a boy for taunting him. A year later, he was playfully wrestling with an ex-slave named Mage. He scratched Mage’s face, and the next day, Mage hid on a path and attacked Hardin in retaliation. Hardin fired three warning shots, but when Mage didn’t back off, Hardin was forced to shoot him in self-defense. Mage died as a result. Since many of the Texas State Police were themselves former slaves, and Hardin was a “Johnny Reb”, he didn’t stand a chance of a fair trial. He went into hiding and was warned by his brother when the police found out where he was. He did not run, but stayed and fought instead. He killed all three policemen and evaded the law. Several arrests and escapes later, he ended up in Abilene, Kansas, where he befriended “Wild Bill” Hickok. While in Abilene, he stayed at the American House Hotel. When the stranger in the next room wouldn’t stop snoring, he fired a gun into the ceiling twice. The first shot woke the man up, and the second one killed him. Hardin made his escape out of the window and left for Texas. Many skirmishes with the law followed, and he was finally captured, convicted, and went to jail for seventeen years. During his time incarcerated, he finished his law degree and practiced as a lawyer upon his release. He died when he was shot in the back of the head while playing dice.

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Jesse James was born in Missouri, and along with his brother, Frank, was a Confederate guerrilla fighter during the Civil War. After the war, the James boys joined the Younger brothers and formed the James-Younger Gang. Together, they robbed banks, stagecoaches, and trains. In 1869, the gang held up the Daviess County Savings Association in Gallatin, Missouri. Jesse shot and killed a clerk, believing him to be someone else. When he realized his terrible mistake, he began a correspondence with John Newman Edwards, editor and founder of the Kansas City Times. Edwards had fought for the Confederacy also, and was sympathetic to the James brothers. He ran many admiring articles about the gang and published Jesse Jame’s letters to the public, in which he declared his innocence. These articles raised his public profile and made him a kind of folk hero. Though he was famous while alive, he became even more so in death, when he was shot in the back of the head in his own home by trusted friend Robert Ford. His mother, Zerelda James chose this epitaph for her son : “In Loving Memory of my Beloved Son, Murdered by a Traitor and Coward Whose Name is not Worthy to Appear Here.”

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There is no outlaw more legendary that Billy the Kid. Countless books, movies, and songs have been written about his life, but the reality was not quite as sensational. Often portrayed as a cold-blooded killer, he entered a life of crime out of necessity, not malice. People who knew him personally called him brave, resourceful honest, and full of laughter. Under different circumstances, he could have been a successful man. It has been said that he killed 21 people, one for each year of his life, but he was probably only responsible for four. In 1877, he went to work as a cattle guard for rancher, John Tunstall. Tunstall was embroiled in a bitter dispute with the local merchants Lawrence Murphy and James Dolan. On February 18, 1878, Tunstall was murdered by Murphy’s workers while herding his cattle in the open range. He was unarmed and alone. This event started what would be called The Lincoln County War. Enraged, the ranch hands, including Billy, were deputized and given the warrants to bring in the Murphy men. They called themselves the Regulators. Due to the corruption of the day, the governor sided with Murphy, and the Regulators became the enemy. After a daring escape from jail, and a few years on the run, he was shot and killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett while hiding out in a friend’s home. Over the years, several people have claimed to be Billy the Kid, but the chance that he survived and/or his body was misidentified are highly unlikely.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2009/04/09/10-gunslinging-outlaws-of-the-american-wild-west/